The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. 1 - Light Novel Review

You might argue that world-domination via the fast food industry has already been achieved, but not if Satan has anything to say about it!

The Lowdown

Drained of their magical powers after landing in modern day Tokyo to escape defeat at the hands of Emilia the Hero, Satan (aka Sadao Maou) and his general Alciel (aka Shiro Ashiya) are quickly forced to adapt to life in the human world. In order to buy time while finding a way to return home, Satan soon finds gainful employment at fast-food restaurant MgRonalds and become taken with the job. Setting his sights on world-domination by working his way up the management chain, Satan must balance his efforts at work with fending off Emilia the Hero (aka Emi Yusa) who has vowed to defeat him.

Who Is It For?

Fans of action-comedy series with a hint of fantasy will find plenty to like here. If you appreciate occasionally absurd (in a good way) and dry humour, you’ll enjoy the comedy.

How Was It?

Comedy series live and die by their execution, and The Devil is a Part-Timer Vol. 1 does a great job at creating comedic moments out of its premise. A good portion of these moments occur in the narration and poke fun at the absurdity of Satan working at a fast-food restaurant and struggling with otherwise normal parts of life. Author Satoshi Wagahara achieves a sort of deadpan humour with the story that consistently made me laugh and was one of the highlights of the book.

“So, the Devil King fell asleep. And he stayed asleep for three days and three nights, healing his scarred body and drained soul. Then, after sleeping for three days straight without eating or drinking, Satan was taken to the hospital for malnutrition. The dehydration and vitamin deficiency had immobilized him.”

Enough can’t be said about the narration which skillfully accentuates comedic moments while knowingly winking at the reader as the characters banter. Descriptions of things such Satan’s “trusty demonic steed” (bicycle) Dullahan added a lot of flavour to the story and kept me engaged the entire time. The comedic “slice-of-life” moments focusing on their interactions with society were a great and outshone the serviceable action scenes which occurred once the story got moving.

The interactions between the characters also add greatly to the comedy, with their banter being a consistent highlight. Whether it be Alciel’s admonishment of Satan during the middle of a fight for wasting money on Sentai films or Emilia’s jabs about the poor state of their house, the interactions feel endearing and make a lot of sense in developing each of the characters. It also bears mentioning that Wagahara avoids the type of cheap slap-stick comedy that might be otherwise be expected and this makes the overall comedic tone of the book that much better executed.

The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. 1 is also well-paced, never lingering on a segment for longer than necessary and keeping the story moving at a crisp pace. The backstory of each character is explored, providing some great context and depth which made them each more interesting. The action scenes never drag either as they include comedic aspects which keep the proceedings lighthearted and engaging.

Yen Press did a great job with this release, which features a number of colour pages at the beginning, as well as character profiles in the form of resumes at the back of the book. They were a nice touch and entertaining to read because they were written completely in character. The translation by Kevin Gifford was also good and avoided any noticeably stilted phrasing or dialogue.

My only real complaint from this volume was Satan’s pre-story character was never built upon except through exclamations from other characters about how fearsome and evil he was before the events of this story. This was an issue because of the marked gulf this creates between the relatively kind and snarky Maou we see during the book not quite jiving with his supposedly fearsome and ruthless reputation. This makes it somewhat difficult to believe Emi’s declarations regarding vanquishing him because we are never really sold on the idea that he’s a real threat to the world in the first place. Hopefully this will be addressed in future volumes as it creates a type of dissonance between the Maou we experience versus his reputation in the minds of other characters.

Final Thoughts

Serving up plenty of laughs, The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. 1 is a fun fish-out-of-water comedy which executes nearly perfectly in creating hilarious situations out of its premise as well as character interactions. I really enjoyed this volume and felt that the comedic aspects made it stand out among the other comedies out there today, with its blend of dry and somewhat absurd humour making for an entertaining read.


The Devil is a Part-Timer! Vol. 1 was published by Yen Press on April 21st, 2015. Authored by Satoshi Wagahara and illustrated by 029 (Oniku) the series is currently ongoing and published by under ACII Media Works’ Dengeki Bunko imprint. The series recieved a one-cour anime adaption in Summer 2013 and volume 2 will be published in English on August 18th, 2015.

Verdict:

A

Date of Publication: April 21st, 2015

Translator: Kevin Gifford

Author: Satoshi Wagahara

Publisher: Yen Press



Matt

Matt is a broke law student by day, broke law student by night, and one of the co-founders of Taykobon in his dwindling spare time. Although his favourite series tend to be shonen adventure series, he also has a soft spot for slice-of-life shojo romances. He enjoys following the manga industry, and is a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays in other nonexistent spare time. 

Favourite series: Bakuman

Favourite author: Io Sakisaka